I Want to Revolt

No Exit? Please, tell me there’s an exit.

I don’t know how life got like this. Is this the life our parents lived? Working so hard and with such force that you are literally empty every day when you get home, barely able to see through making a meal for yourself and spending some time with your beloved child? Falling into bed and into a heavy slumber you awaken nearly drunk from, coaxing yourself out of bed and to do the rigamarole once again?

I want to revolt. I want to stamp my foot and say NO! I want to pack my bag and grab my child and head to the place or the time wherein we work to live and we eat to live and we live to live, instead of giving so much to that which gives us our daily bread that there’s nothing left to do but eat the bread, and indulge in more butter, please, because it will be your day’s sole pleasure.

How did we get here? Is it just New York City? I don’t think so. Is it just working in media, which is collapsing around itself and rebirthing itself and reshaping itself in such a dynamic and uncontrolled conflagration that I can’t believe we don’t all come home from work every day with second-degree burns on our hands? I don’t think so. Aren’t all businesses going through that? Is yours? Do tell. I need company in the insane asylum.

I want to revolt. I want to fall out of love with things and fall out of love with comfort and stop wanting to surround myself with beauty so I can live with nothing and need nothing and have a small and unremarkable house in a small and unremarkable neighborhood and live a small and unremarkable life.

All I ever wanted when I was young to be big. And now I can’t get small enough fast enough.

Does anyone else ever think these things? Or am I actually, finally losing my mind? I cried for an hour straight this morning, paralyzed with the unfixableness of it all. Yes, I am moving to the country. Yes, I will be surrounded by trees. Yes, I can get a treadmill in my house. Yes, I can get a dog that I will need to walk every day. Yes, I can try to build a life that will force me to live in my body a little bit more. But the bulk of my living will still be in my head, and I just can’t believe that’s how it was meant to be.

I want to be a body. A body in the world. A body seeing the world and moving in the world and taking in the world and being humbled and majestified by all that is not me. A body that carries a brain that sees and experiences the world, and then turns around and writes things about the world. Instead of being stuck in this endless internal hell of judging and panicking and rushing and failing to remember to do the most rudimentary acts of self-care.

For what? For what? Does anyone remember For What all this rush and panic is for?

I can’t remember. And I want to revolt. Before I don’t have it in me to do even that.

Tell me, dear reader, do you know what I speak of? And how did we get here? Do tell, please do tell.

About stacy

I am a writer, author, mother, former magazine editor (last at Redbook), optimist, and, above all, a searcher. I'm still searching for whom I'm really meant to be, after a series of very jarring losses: a divorce and house disaster that led to a book (Falling Apart In One Piece); a week after the book came out, my parents suddenly fell gravely ill, I resigned from my job (and, apparently, my career), my son went into crisis, my parents then rapidly died four weeks apart, and my boyfriend (who had moved in with me and my son just weeks before the book came out) began the painful journey of realizing we couldn't make our relationship work (that story unfolded on this blog). Since then I've been trying to figure out what's next. Or, in other words, how to fill in the blanks.
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8 Responses to I Want to Revolt

  1. Alana Forsyth says:

    I hear you. I think you’re talking about the chasm in a peoples lives when they confront the question of what the point is to it all. St. Augustine put it this way: “Our hearts are restless until they rest in you.”

  2. It’s not just New York City.

    And there’s nowhere to run.

  3. Nina says:

    Yes yes yes– we know what you speak of. Definitely not just NYC. We live in our screens. 🙁

  4. Alexandra says:

    Come stay with me.

    We’ll wake up, have coffee four blocks away where they roast the beans right there, and the owner makes her own scones. Then we’ll take a walk past the horse farms where your eye sees forever.

    We’ll come home rosy cheeked and sit under the trees in the yard with scarves wrapped tightly around our necks. We’ll wait for the kids to walk home from school and they can tell us about who smarted back to the teacher today.

    Then we’ll walk to the butcher shop downtown and ask him what’s good today. We’ll roast broccoli and cauliflower and sip the crisp white wine that the local winery downtown sells for 8 dollars a bottle.

    When everything is cleaned up and taken care of at home, we’ll walk to the microbrewery on the creek, where we can watch the waterfall through the 100 year old windows, while we listen to the bass duo.

    Come stay with me.

  5. Rita says:

    I think about this all the time. I wonder if it really is harder now than it used to be. I suspect it is. I think the rapid pace of change in the world now is a large part of what makes it harder. I don’t think we’ve caught up; we can’t evolve fast enough to keep pace.

    That said, I know there are those who are finding ways to do it differently. You might check out the writings of Leo Babauta or Courtney Carver. Their solution is not easy, but their lives are evidence that life does not have to be the mad crush you describe.

    For me, the biggest gift I got (about two years ago now), was a job reduction courtesy of the sucky economy. With a cut in my position and furlough days, my (never huge) salary was cut 26%. I’d been living with such a thin margin, my life as I’d been living it was no longer sustainable. I moved, which cut my commute time and housing costs and housing chores. I took in a “roommate” (we were both so skittish due to the failures of our previous marriages, I don’t know when/if we’d have taken that step and I was only able to do it because I thought of it primarily in those terms). That also cut my housing costs and housing chores.

    Learning how to live with less (because I had to) showed me that I didn’t need many of the things I thought I did. And it showed me how much of a slave I’d been to those things.

    I am so grateful now that I only work a 4-day week. It’s changed how I see so many things. It hasn’t all been easy. It’s absolutely changed my relationship to work, and it’s been disconcerting, to say the least. Although I never had a high profile/high-powered career, being an educator was a huge part of my life and identity. It felt weird, to say the least, when everything began to shift. It felt weird to start saying no. I believe liberation always does (feel weird), especially when one has been locked inside a cage for as long as I had been. (It doesn’t matter that the cage was of my own making.)

    What I’ve learned is that there are always choices. Not for those who are struggling with physical survival, but for those of us who are privileged (which I consider myself to be, due to my health, intellect, education, and relative lack of trauma/abuse in my history), there are always choices.

    That doesn’t mean they are easy, but they exist. I know you’ll figure out what they are for you. You can’t not–not when you’ve come this far.

  6. Rita Arens says:

    Completing something always makes me feel better, even if it is something small, like your puzzle. Keep completing things. You’ll come back, you always do. Prepare for your move, as you are. Cherish the things you want to keep and let go of anything that makes your stomach hurt when you think of packing it. Listen to your gut about how much to take on.

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